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spring gifts

Spring has brought us time working on the yard and house, time with friends, and time with our church community.  The kids and I have been taking walks in the woods by our house many days of the week, which has been great for each of us, Addie included.  Spring gave us a ten-year-old boy with not one but three new ear piercings.  He had a sleepover and fried ice cream at the Mexican restaurant for his birthday, and got a big haul of paracord which he (rather obsessively) uses to tie all kinds of bracelets for everyone.  Spring has been mostly rainy still, with the occasional full day of sun, but mostly not.  Once in a while it’s even gotten close to 70 degrees: On those days, we try to head outside to the park or just out the door to roast hot dogs in our fire pit while enjoying the gorgeous bounty of flowers all around our property.

This spring we enjoyed multiple easter egg hunts with family and friends, we discovered Cedar needs glasses for near-sightedness, and we started participating in a homeschool co-op where they get to do cool things like walk on water with homemade water shoes.  Ashton finished up her homeschool choir season with a final performance.  She worked hard, showed up for practices, memorized her parts, and did amazing. I am so proud of her for facing her fears to perform in front of people, and for being brave enough to invite all our neighbors and friends to come to her concert, even when she was super nervous to perform…. and our friends and neighbors DID come!  It is just so darn wonderful to have so many people in our life who love and support our family.

Spring also brought one unusually warm, humid day in which we discovered a hidden waterfall with our friends the Burtons, with whom we enjoyed being outdoors and playing in the cold water.  On our way out of the woods, it started to thunderstorm right on top of us, with giant booms and lightning and pouring rain…. but warm, bath-like, Florida-like rain.  We got totally soaked.  Once home I stood outside watching the lightning strikes, feeling the warm air, listening to the birds, watching a possum cross the street, and smelling the wafting aroma of lilac.  I felt such longing for Florida, the sun, the aliveness of life there in day and night, and the warm ocean… and thankful for the opportunity to be here in this place, in my lovely little backyard surrounded by beautiful flowers.

Spring has also given us an opportunity to be stationed in Naples, Italy for three years beginning this fall.  This means a lot of learning, preparing, logistics, and sadness.  We are getting ready, in all kinds of ways.

they jump!

These kids jump morning, afternoon and evening; when they ought to be in bed and when they’re supposed to be doing math and piano; always when friends come over, sometimes alone, preferably together, and definitely with Dad.  On the trampoline they laugh, smile (I really don’t think it’s possible to jump without smiling), and enjoy each other.  When they’re grouchy, jumping brings them back to joy.  Every time they can, even sometimes in the rain, they jump.  It’s fantastic.

montana visit

The kids and I headed to Montana recently for some much-needed cousin playtime and to give Matt a week of space all to himself (and by that I mean, a week to work on our house uninterrupted by the myriad needs of the family).  It was the first actual sunny, warmish week we’d all had after this long winter, so we timed our trip quite well.  We tired out the cousins, had fun with the grandparents and aunts and uncles, played games and made art, had an easter egg hunt, visited our good friends Alan and Sarah (where I discovered in their home a bottle of my homemade cherry wine from 2009, which we drank, and then we all quite enjoyed watching “Curly the Rodeo Clown” come to life), and Ash made some movies you can view on her blog when she posts them (http://themockturtlesworkshop.blogspot.com/).  I had space to thrift, walk, think and rest, and the weather cooperated well enough for me to take the pooch for a hike every day— soooooooo good.  Excuse the photo quality– I took photos with my phone which I really need to upgrade, but, still, I’m thankful my kids can have these photos to look back on.

her: a birthday, and a bit of outside

She turned 12.  She had a sleepover, went to the movies, ate food she wanted, and enjoyed her cakes and presents.  I’ve also included here photos of her venturing out for bits of time as the weather warmed: these were her chosen set-ups when I kicked her out to “go outside and get some sun while it’s out!”  One day it was sunny for the whole day, and even a little warm, so we had our friends over and rang in the season with our first hot dog roast.

 

trampoline

Matt and I caved.  We finally gave in and bought the trampoline our kids have been wanting for years.  Our friends came over to help us set it up, which saved us sooooo much time.  And now, even though it might ruin the lawn, I have to move it to mow, and we have to figure out what to do with it when we move, I am thrilled about it.  My kids laugh and smile, play together, move and go outside more, and have a fun thing to do with friends.  It is great.

valentines

We hardly craft anymore, but we had our annual homeschool group Valentine’s Day party coming up, so we went on a crafting binge.  They wanted to win prizes for their boxes in the box-decorating competition, and that was reason to go for creating in a way they just aren’t too interested in anymore these days.  Except Ashton, who is into making movies and stop-motions (her blog is here: http://themockturtlesworkshop.blogspot.com/), and Cedar, who is into making paracord bracelets.  Anyway, these boxes ended up so awesome!  Cedar even won the Grand Prize for his age group.

snow, oh, snow!

“It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with SNOW!”  Do you recognize that song?  We did watch several old musicals this winter while we snuggled up during snowy weather.  More snow, and cold temps, happened here this year than in many years.  We loved it!

comings and goings

Winter was wet and cold this year (though the photos seem to show mostly the sunny days— this is only part of a mostly very gray, cloudy story), with many, many, MANY days at home.  From the snaps I captured (and I missed a lot of photos of our adventures with friends and at home), I see we have indeed kept busy.  We continued with our church, homeschool, working on our house, friendships, choir, and YMCA classes.  Cedar started chromatic harmonica lessons, Ash got braces, Jess cut her hair short, and we finally added a second car (and a payment to go with it!).  We got some museum trips in, a couple of theater shows, and Jess did the Seattle Women’s March.  We are very much looking forward to more sun and warmth— even the locals are complaining about the long winter we’ve had!